Forgive me for thinking that power of social media was in the hands of the people.. the engagement.. interaction.. public conversations that allow people to eavesdrop at ease and share what they like, dislike and recommend… and has facebook’s myriad timeline changes and tinkering not been to enhance the “customer experience“? So what the heck is this paid for trial to keep conversations in the streams longer for?
An article in the Daily Mail shows the soon to be floated site is testing a pay to be popular feature…. now when I heard there were changes to the timeline due I had no idea that they were thinking of introducing one that completely flies in the face of everything facebook has said it stands for.
Now we all knew that there were be changes with a float and for a site that is free can we really complain? But this is a really odd strategy in my opinion. There have been many changes over the past few years some good and some not so good but all have had the underlying thread of enhancing customer experience. I therefore find it very difficult to comprehend that this social networking site would even contemplate such a thing. This is only a test and it is apparently judging the reaction of the users.
Facebook will hit the billion user mark at some point later this year and has some 500 million mobile users so it certainly has a powerful beast and some serious klout and no doubt they will have something to say about the latest changes. With the float this month there has certainly been some interesting things going on with aquisitions like Instagram and timeline for facebook and only time will tell what else will happen but one thing is sure, the users are vocal and will do what they do best and discuss it – very publicly. Whether that will make any difference when the company has floated and has shareholders to appease who knows? Or will they listen more to those who have invested in them? Stranger things have happened and we are seeing all sorts of shareholder revolts in places we would never have imagined.
Given that only 12% of your connections are likely to see content I can see how this would be appealing to big brands and marketers but that would be a huge turn off for the mass of users and would it be possible to turn it off in a similar manner to Hootsuite? If I were a cynical person I might suggest that this could be a way of creating a premium account where the user can turn off the promotion? Very worrying ideas… Buying popularity is not something that sits right with me… I prefer the use of questions, pictures, video and engaging content, as well as getting to know people for my engagement and popularity but what do I know? What do you think? Is this a step too far for the largest European social network?